This post is part of our series on the winning charities from the 2016 Aviva Community Fund and is provided by Justin Kelsey, Communications and Events Coordinator at Harvest House Atlantic. This multi-part blog series features the stories behind the charities who won the 2016 Aviva Community Fund contest and the impact they will make with each project across Canada.
Imagine losing everything. Your home, the ones you love, and your livelihood. The thought is unimaginable, anxiety-inducing, and terrifying, but for Dave, it turned out to be his reality.
Dave was a normal guy, by most people’s standards. With a good job, a car and a fiancée, Dave was faced with a very difficult time that was completely out of his control. One thing led to another and Dave lost everything—his home, his job, and his relationship. He ended up living on the streets, drug addicted, suicidal, and feeling hopeless and lost. Thankfully a good Samaritan found Dave on the street lost and disoriented, and chose to drive Dave to our Harvest House Atlantic. Here Dave received essential support, including meals, shower facilities, and a warm bed. Soon, he accepted an offer to take the next step and enter our addiction recovery centre. After a long road of recovery, Dave is a graduate from our recovery program, free from addiction, and actively volunteers in the community. Dave is a true success story.
Welcome to Harvest House Atlantic
Harvest House Atlantic is a locally based charity that serves the Greater Moncton community in New Brunswick, and at our core, we believe that “it all starts with a meal.” Many people in need come to our community centre for essential support including a healthy meal, access to our free clothing room, a hot shower, and a warm, safe bed within our emergency shelter. In addition, we offer a men’s addiction recovery centre with 23 beds and a daily life skill class open to the community and taught by various local leaders. We also welcome pets as they can be one of very few friends in the world for those struggling with homelessness.
At Harvest House Atlantic, we believe in giving people the opportunity to move forward within a caring community, whether it’s our addiction recovery centre or step-up up transitional housing program.
Our addiction recovery centre is in constant demand; it offers a nine-month program to help people struggling with pharmaceutical, narcotic, alcohol, or gambling addictions. On top of this, our Step-up Housing Program helps residents escape battered households and obtain safe housing, we help men and women interested in leaving street life, and we support recently released prisoners integrate and establish themselves in the community. Our programs are as unique as the individual. We help them find the best opportunities to work, attend school, or volunteer in the community as part of our programming. We empower the people we assist to take ownership and an active role in turning their life around.
Breaking Ground on a New Future
Each and every day, we touch countless lives in the community. In 2016, our community centre served over 55,000 meals to people in need from a tiny kitchen similar in size to one found in the average home, we provided over 40,000 cups of coffee to warm people up, and we admitted over 1,400 people to our emergency shelter!
Our centre has had a big impact in our community, but we’ve struggled to seat everyone in need of a meal along with having to cook and serve our meals from a very small kitchen. . For this reason, we chose to enter the Aviva Community Fund in order to expand our services to better meet the needs of our entire community. We are thrilled to have been granted $86,500 to help us renovate and upgrade our kitchen to industrial size and increase our seating capacity.
With construction slated to begin in March, we are planning a ground breaking ceremony on March 6th to kick off this momentous project. We will expand our kitchen size and replace common kitchen appliances with industrial size units and freezers to seat and feed more people. We will be able to welcome more people in need when they need help the most. On top of all of this, the project will also help to sustain new services coming to Harvest House Atlantic in 2017, including a new Women’s Addiction Recovery Center (opening in July), and upwards of 17 additional step-up housing units to be added throughout the year.
Opening new opportunities and rebuilding more than just our tiny kitchen, we will soon be able to rebuild brighter futures for those in need in Moncton, New Brunswick.